The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien

The Things They Carried

By Tim O'Brien

  • Release Date: 2009-10-13
  • Genre: Short Stories
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 1,714 Ratings)


A classic work of American literature that has not stopped changing minds and lives since it burst onto the literary scene, The Things They Carried is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling. 
The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and the character Tim O’Brien, who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three.
Taught everywhere—from high school classrooms to graduate seminars in creative writing—it has become required reading for any American and continues to challenge readers in their perceptions of fact and fiction, war and peace, courage and fear and longing.

The Things They Carried won France's prestigious Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize; it was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.


  • This will make you think about how lucky you are

    By Lucky173
    I had this book back in my high school days. Powerful and definitely unforgettable. I regret leaving this book behind as it is definitely worth the time it takes to read. I took it slow as it is poinyent and deeper than the deepest glaciers.
  • Excellent book

    By Booksqa2019
    Beautifully written — definitely worth a read.
  • One of my favorite books of all time

    By Lizardbrain90
    At turns funny and tragic, O’Brien does a wonderful job of juxtaposing the bizarre realities of war with the simplest parts of being human. He writes wonderfully and descriptively about very difficult subjects and scenes without getting sentimental. Gorgeous book.
  • “War” a never ending story

    By army11bvet
    God bless the men and women who serve our great country. Every service member has his/her war story, a time in their life they will never forget. A moment in that service members life that may never be told or talked about, a time frame that changed their lives forever and leaves them wondering what my life would of been like without the war. Take care veterans and thankyou for your service.
  • One of my favorite books of all time.

    By Scerzilla785547
    Beautiful written. Cannot put into words how it makes you feel. A must read.
  • Best Book EVER!!

    By Fsr24
    I’m in the military myself, and I’ve always loved war stories. But part of me knew that most of them didn’t really hit the main point of the stories. Tim O’Brien wrote some of the most realistic and moving war stories I’ve ever read. It moved me to tears honestly.
  • Transcendence of Stories.

    By Meeno
    Life in its fragility holds so many pieces. When put to work in a story the pieces come off the shelf and the menagerie is less breakable, it’s infinite malleability lends it the uber-human glow of the un-dying, the un-dieable. Everything comes to life, the scenery, the foliage, the river, the bullets, the water, the quiet, the Minnesotan emptiness, the Vietnamese sanguine tranquility, the war, and all the dead in this landscape rise back up, shake hands, live, converse, play small radios, paint their faces, play like children, first shy and then bravely at a game call Be Alive, Be Forgiven, Be Remembered, Be. And all that war takes away, stories give back. Tim O’Brian know his stories. He’s knows their restoration and salve. And he knew that war, its good days and its bad. And he knows how to stand those days up on paper so they dance around again, and are never stuck bloated, dying, dead. The river doesn’t rise up its mud to subsume them, the trees don’t hang their copse bits like ornaments anymore. The single well spent bullet does take off the cheek and blue the eye of young mellow man and the little girl still skates the night pond and still fills you with love. Thanks,Tim, for blowing everything up with life.
  • The things they carried

    By Barney1944
    This takes me to a place I never was - not in real time - but now I have been there, a place that at times has seemed very real, as if I HAD really been there, and yet knowing I hadn't. Reality, in many cases, doesn't hold a candle to what you THINK might have happened, and yet this book BECOMES reality- and allows the reader to understand the difference - from what is real for him/her, (the reader) in their imagination, and what the author lived, and still lives - every day.
  • The things I've never carriedhanks to Tim O'brien for his incredible Insite

    By Al-the-Pal
    I'm 73 years old, I never went to 'Nam. Married senior year in college, bun in the oven, deferred student. All my buddies from high school in Northern New York did ship out however. '65 was the start of the chaos. I've probably read twenty of the best reviewed books on 'Nam trying to at least partially understand what they went thru. Regrettably not really possible Two of my best friends have not returned. I will never get over this . Thanks Tim for your super recollection.
  • Great book

    By RetroEmerald
    This book may be sad, but it is far from bad. It puts you in the soldiers shoes, shows you their losses, and how they cope.